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Cornelius News

Commissioner Denis Bilodeau will run for mayor of Cornelius

May 1. By Dave Yochum. Three-term Town Commissioner Denis Bilodeau says he will run for mayor this fall, setting up the first time there has been a two-way race for mayor in 15 years when Richard Stillwell ran against incumbent Jeff Tarte, who later went on the the NC Senate.

Bilodeau is a former president of the Peninsula Property Owners Association and the North Mecklenburg Rotary as well as a senior executive at a Fortune 500 insurance company and small business owner here in Cornelius.


He retired from Aquesta Financial prior to the locally based financial institution’s sale to United Community Bank.

Healthy competition

Bilodeau said it is healthy to have competition in elections, whether they’re local, regional or national.

“As an incumbent, knowing that in two years you will have competition for your seat should bring a stronger sense of urgency and accountability,” Bilodeau said.

The current mayor has run unopposed in three elections, as did the previous mayor, Chuck Travis. Before him, Jeff Tarte ran unopposed once, but ran against Stillwell, a Magnolia Estates resident, and won in 2007.

Washam comments

Mayor Washam, who was also a commissioner prior to being elected mayor in 2017, said he welcomes “constructive conversation and dialogue” in the upcoming election campaign.

“I remain very proud of my accomplishments as mayor,” he said.

During the 2021 election, over 400 voters wrote in their choice for mayor, indicating a desire for alternative candidates, Bilodeau said.

Bilodeau agenda

He said his priorities as mayor would be the same as the citizens of Cornelius.

 Improved infrastructure and traffic flow
 Support safety in our town and on the water
 Expanding our parks and greenways
 Support smart economic growth to better balance commercial/residential tax

Among his short-term goals: 

Among his short-term goals would be fast-tracking town road projects as part of NCDOT regional road work.

“The Town Board and citizens look to the mayor to set direction,” said Bilodeau, who also served two terms as a Park Dept. commissioner. “A ‘score card’ will be established to measure success. Say what you are going to do and do what you say.”